A third-degree burn is the most intense burn injury that affects every layer of skin including the epidermis (outer layer), the dermis (middle layer) and the hypodermis (third skin layer). These types of severe burns can also cause significant injuries to blood vessels, nerves, muscles and bones.
Nearly every type of third-degree burn is a medical emergency that requires proper treatment from skilled health care professionals. In fact, proper treatment is essential to ensure that the body does not lose important fluids. Third-degree burns can also cause lifelong lasting injury and serious infection. Extremely bad third-degree burns often require hospitalization in a burn unit.
Causes of Third-Degree Burns
As a full thickness burn, these injuries often result in blackened (charred) or white skin, where nerve endings become numb. Swelling often occurs along with eventual yellowing or browning of the skin. Many of the common causes of third-degree burns include:
- Scalding liquids including water and oils
- Thermal transfer when skin comes in extended contact with hot objects
- Fires and explosions
- Chemical source
- Electrical source
Immediate Action Necessary To Treat Advanced Degree Burns
Whenever a victim has experienced a third degree burn, it is essential to begin immediate action to minimize additional damage and start the relief of pain. Initial immediate steps include:
- Stopping the Burn Process – It is imperative to stop the process causing the burn, by removing the individual from the source.
- Chemical Burns – It is imperative to brush off or wipe away the dry powder chemical while carefully removing the victim's clothing. The extent of the burning can be minimized through immersion with cool water, or irrigation. A chemical burn requires bountiful amounts of irrigation to dilute any remaining particles of chemicals on the skin.
- Thermal Burns – Quickly removing the victim from the burning source is essential to survival. If covered in flames, extinguish with water, or roll the victim to smother the fire. Check for any evidence of cardiovascular dysfunction or oropharyngeal burn caused by smoke inhalation.
- Electrical Burns – It is essential to turn off any electrical power source before coming in contact with the victim suffering an electrical burn. Not all electrical injuries are apparent on the surface, and often require immediate medical attention.
- Quick Assessment – The victim should be checked to ensure there is blood circulation and breathing. If not, start CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). Next, assess the extent of injuries on the body surface area along with the injury's depth based on the severity of the burn and its location.
- Keep the Area Sterile – All fresh third-degree burns are sterile, so it is important to minimize any contact of dirty or potentially contaminated objects with the burn area.
- Emergency Transfer – Third-degree burns are often extensive and life-threatening injuries that require an immediate transfer to a hospital with a burn unit, emergency room, or local burn center.
The (Long Road) To Healing 3rd Degree Burns
Because there is often significant damage to all layers of the skin, muscle tissue, nerve endings and bone, the healing process is extensive and painfully slow. Often times, victims suffer considerable scarring and/or require skin grafting and reconstruction surgery due to contractures. Permanent tightening of tissue (contracture) typically prevents normal body movement.
As a result, deep scarring occurs, that may require releasing or cutting as a way to relieve any underlying pressure. Severe deep burns are typically caused by contact with corrosive chemicals, electricity or fire.
Nearly all third-degree burns require immediate medical attention by doctors that specialize in burns. The main goals of treating a victim suffering severe burns are the prevention of infection, removal of dead tissue, and the application of sanitized covering over the wounded area as quickly as possible.
Legal Options Available When A Third-Degree Burn Is Due To An Accident Or Negligence
Many victims of serious burns hire a third degree burn accident lawyer when the accident was not their fault. This is because the medical expenses and costs of living of managing a third-degree burn can be extensive and lifelong. The excessive financial costs involved along with the inability to work and extended long-term medical care can quickly add up.
The Illinois burn accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC use expert testimony to establish how the injury was caused by third-party negligence. The law firm will also establish every source causing the injury to determine responsibility and hold those at fault accountable. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC at (888) 424-5757 offer a free no obligation case consultation for victims of burn injuries.